Kogi Gov­er­nor­ship: APC, PDP in supremacy bat­tle

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS -

Novem­ber 21 is the date, and two po­lit­i­cal par­ties are in the lime­light - the rul­ing Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) in Kogi State and the op­po­si­tion All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) which is warm­ing up to re­peat in the ‘Con­flu­ence State’ the feat it achieved dur­ing the last gen­eral elec­tions in other places.

The PDP, which has the in­cum­bent gover­nor Idris Wada as its can­di­date, wants to re­tain the gov­er­nor­ship. The APC is pre­sent­ing Prince Abubakar Audu, who was the gover­nor be­tween 1999 and 2003 on the plat­form of the de­funct All Nige­ria Peo­ples Party (ANPP).

Last Wed­nes­day, the two par­ties in­au­gu­rated their cam­paign com­mit­tees headed by prom­i­nent party lead­ers with the com­mon goal of oust­ing each other at the poll.

The APC con­sti­tuted a 24man Na­tional Cam­paign Coun­cil for Kogi State Gov­er­nor­ship Elec­tion led by Niger State gover­nor, Abubakar Sani Bello.

The APC Deputy Na­tional Chair­man (North), Sen­a­tor Lawan Shuaibu, will serve as deputy chair­man of the cam­paign team, while the Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral of the can­di­date’s cam­paign or­ga­ni­za­tion will serve as mem­ber and sec­re­tary.

Other mem­bers of the Na­tional Cam­paign Coun­cil in­clude Prince Audu, gov­er­nors Ab­dul­fa­tah Ahmed (Kwara), Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa), Si­mon Bako La­long (Plateau), and Or­tom Sa­muel of Benue State.

The mem­ber­ship also in­cludes Mr. Zakari Idde, Sen­a­tor Osita Izu­naso, Ha­jiya Ra­matu Ti­j­jani Aliyu, Inuwa Ab­dul-Kadir, Sen­a­tor Dino Me­laye, Sen­a­tor Mo­hammed Ab­dul­salami, Sen­a­tor Ab­dul­rah­man Abubakar, Al­haji Haddy Audu Ame­tuo, Sen­a­tor Ifeanyi Ara­raume, Prince Ola­gun­soye Oyin­lola, Oloro­gun Ken­neth Gobaji, Ti­jani Musa Tum­sah, Hon.Faleke Abio­dun James, Ha­jia Has­sana Ab­dul­lahi, Mr. Terver aginde, and Mrs. Tina Adike.

While inau­gu­rat­ing the cam­paign team in Abuja at the party’s na­tional sec­re­tar­iat last Wed­nes­day, the APC Na­tional Chair­man, Chief John OdigieOye­gun, said that the party must win the Novem­ber 21 gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion in Kogi State.

Chief Odigie-Oye­gun main­tained that the party must win the poll to prove that the de­feat of Good­luck Jonathan’s ‘mon­strous regime’ was not a fake.

The APC boss, who said the team was charged with the re­spon­si­bil­ity of de­liv­er­ing Kogi State, urged them to mo­bi­lize all resources to achieve its tar­get.

“We are here for a very unique event. Its unique­ness is not be­cause it is Kogi State. It is unique be­cause Kogi State is pro­vid­ing the APC with the very first ma­jor op­por­tu­nity to test its con­tin­ued pop­u­lar­ity and ac­cept­abil­ity.

“There­fore, it places a heavy onus on you as the cam­paign com­mit­tee that it is an elec­tion we must win. This elec­tion, we must win. We must win to prove the point that the na­tional elec­tion where we re­moved a more mon­strous regime from of­fice was not a fake. In Kogi State, you are fac­ing yet an­other in­cum­bent gov­ern­ment from the op­po­si­tion.

“The task be­fore this com­mit­tee is enor­mous. You have to put to­gether the financial and hu­man resources. You have to work on the lo­gis­tics and what­ever it takes to en­sure that Kogi State joins the pro­gres­sive fold. I wish the chair­man and mem­bers of his team and the can­di­date the very best of luck,” he added.

He said the ad­vent of an APC gov­ern­ment would bring the needed change and put a halt to ‘near to­tal breakdown’ in the state.

“To achieve this,” Chief Odigie-Oye­gun added, “we have a very for­mi­da­ble cam­paign team with all gov­er­nors of the zone who agreed will­ingly to par­tic­i­pate. Se­condly, we have NWC as part of the com­mit­tee. We also have rep­re­sen­ta­tives of ev­ery zone.”

He ex­plained that the Deputy Na­tional Chair­man North, who also serves as deputy chair­man to the Cam­paign Team, would be as­sisted be­cause of his busy sched­ule.

He also clar­i­fied the rea­son why Gover­nor Al-Makura of Nasarawa State was re­placed as the chair­man of the cam­paign team. He said Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari gave him the as­sign­ment to co­or­di­nate the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment team on the Hajj stam­pede chal­lenge.

Re­spond­ing, the chair­man of the Cam­paign Team and Gover­nor of Niger State, Al­haji Sani Bello, thanked the APC boss for repos­ing con­fi­dence in them. Gover­nor Bello, who promised to work to­wards achiev­ing the goal of de­liv­er­ing Kogi State, pledged to work with the can­di­date and APC mem­bers in the ‘Con­flu­ence State’.

He also promised to in­cor­po­rate youth and women in the cam­paign team.

“Let me thank our chair­man for giv­ing us this op­por­tu­nity. Our man­date is to de­liver Kogi State by Novem­ber 21. In­sha Al­lah, that will be achieved. I want to pledge our group co­op­er­a­tion and sup­port to our can­di­date and mem­bers of the APC in Kogi State,” he said.

On the other hand, the Na­tional Work­ing Com­mit­tee (NWC) of the PDP had ear­lier set up the Na­tional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee for Kogi State. A state­ment is­sued by the Na­tional Pub­lic­ity Sec­re­tary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Me­tuh, stated that the Deputy Sen­ate Pres­i­dent, Sen­a­tor Ike Ek­w­ere­madu, is to lead the Kogi State cam­paign com­mit­tee as Chair­man, while PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) Sec­re­tary, Sen­a­tor Walid Jib­ril, will serve as Deputy Chair­man and the Na­tional Le­gal Ad­viser of the party, Bar­ris­ter Vic­tor Kwon serves as sec­re­tary.

The Kogi com­mit­tee also has the former Sen­ate Pres­i­dent, Sen­a­tor David Mark, seven PDP state gov­er­nors and other key stake­hold­ers as mem­bers.

The PDP act­ing Chair­man, Prince Uche Se­con­dus, while inau­gu­rat­ing the com­mit­tee, urged the mem­bers to start the job im­me­di­ately by en­sur­ing that they rec­on­ciled all in­ter­est groups in Kogi, man­aged and raised funds for the cam­paign, fa­cil­i­tated me­dia cam­paign and in­cor­po­rated so­cial me­dia and vot­ers ed­u­ca­tion.

The cam­paign, which is also ex­pected to train the party agents and co­or­di­nate ac­tiv­i­ties in the sit­u­a­tion room for the party, will also mo­bi­lize the youth and women.

Prince Se­con­dus said the PDP had done all it needed to have done in ac­cor­dance to the law as it fa­cil­i­tated a trans­par­ent pri­mary elec­tion, urg­ing the In­de­pen­dent Na­tional Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (INEC) to be an un­bi­ased um­pire. While im­plor­ing the se­cu­rity agen­cies to also main­tain neu­tral­ity, he promised that the PDP would con­duct a civilised cam­paign de­void of vi­o­lence dur­ing the elec­tion­eer­ing pe­riod.

“We have ful­filled all right­eous­ness for Kogi and Bayelsa states. For the first time in our party, we have done very fair pri­maries process. We have lifted the stan­dard.

“We have care­fully se­lected men of tim­ber and cal­iber to seat, plan, engi­neer and reengi­neer the cam­paign for us to win th­ese two states.

“We will do the most civ­i­lized cam­paigns. PDP will never be in­volved in vi­o­lence. We call on INEC and the se­cu­rity agen­cies to come and con­duct a good elec­tion. We call on the APC gov­ern­ment to con­duct free and fair elec­tions in Kogi and Bayelsa states.”

Al­ready, the two sides have launched po­lit­i­cal fire­works. Last Wed­nes­day, the PDP claimed that the APC had been in­cit­ing vi­o­lence in Kogi and Bayelsa states with a view to caus­ing con­fu­sion, frus­trat­ing the elec­toral process and im­ped­ing the forth­com­ing gov­er­nor­ship elec­tions in the two states.

A state­ment by the PDP na­tional pub­lic­ity sec­re­tary called on the peo­ple of Kogi and Bayelsa states to be vig­i­lant.

The state­ment urged Pres­i­dent Buhari to see the two forth­com­ing elec­tions as lit­mus tests of his demo­cratic cre­den­tials.

“As the fa­ther of the na­tion,” the state­ment said Pres­i­dent Buhari should take ‘im­me­di­ate’ steps to call mem­bers of his party, the APC, in the two states to or­der. The PDP also ap­pealed to all se­cu­rity agen­cies and the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to note what it called ‘evil machi­na­tion’ of the APC.

As the two key par­ties send their foot sol­diers to the elec­tion bat­tle field in Kogi State with lit­tle re­gard for a third force which can come from any of the ex­ist­ing par­ties, Nige­ri­ans are watch­ing to see how th­ese po­lit­i­cal heavy­weights will out­wit one an­other to get to ‘Lu­gard House’.

Abubakar Audu

Idris Wada

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